At the Capitol Corral in Pennsylvania, there is a showdown.
A Republican-led majority in the Pennsylvania House gave final approval Tuesday to a bill that would repeal the state’s long-standing requirement that all civilian handgun owners have a separate license to carry a concealed weapon on their person or in a car.
After several hours of debate, the bill passed 107-92 with a majority of the House Republicans voting in favor.
103 Republicans and four Democrats voted yes; 84 Democrats and eight Republicans voted no.
It will be a fleeting victory for them.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo
Tom Wolf has stated that he will veto the bill as soon as it reaches his desk, and because the majorities in both the state House and Senate (29-21, last week) are far short of the two-thirds majority required to override a veto, the exercise was ultimately just another scene in the gridlock that has engulfed the gun debate at the State Capitol since 2018.
Domestic violence advocates were successful in getting a bill passed that required abusers to surrender guns if a contested protection from abuse order was issued.
However, Republican majorities have blocked gun control advocates from bringing their bills to the floor for debate on all other fronts.
Meanwhile, Wolf has stymied most attempts to protect gun owners’ rights.
Tuesday’s proposal was modeled after a bill signed into law in Texas last spring, making it the 21st state in the country to adopt so-called “constitutional carry” language.
The term “constitutional carry” is used by supporters to argue that the right to bear arms is just as important as the right to own them.
The change in Pennsylvania law, on the other hand, is a smaller step in some ways.
Unlike some states, where a permit to carry requires training, a written exam, and a shooting proficiency test, Pennsylvanians only need a clean background check, two character references, and a (dollar)20 application fee to obtain a permit.
Even those steps, supporters said, are unnecessary hoops for law-abiding citizens who, in most cases, already have to pass a background check when buying a gun.
This proposal makes no changes to Pennsylvania’s background check system.